Over the past several years, motorcycle accidents have been increasing in Florida. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable on Florida’s roadways than cars, making even a short drive much riskier.
In fact, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that Florida has the highest number of motorcycle-related deaths in the entire United States.
While that’s grim news for motorcyclists and their families, there are things you can do to protect yourself from motorcycle accidents and protect your rights if you’ve already been involved in one.
Florida Motorcycle Accidents, by the Numbers
In 2015, there were 584 motorcycle deaths in Florida.
These deaths accounted for 20% of the state’s total traffic-related fatalities and stood out as the highest annual number of deaths during the prior 15-year period.
In the years since then, numbers have remained above 500 motorcycle fatalities per year:
2016 – 545 motorcycle accident deaths
2017 -552 motorcycle accident deaths
2018 – 531 motorcycle accident deaths
2019 – 550 motorcycle accident deaths
2020 – 516 motorcycle accident deaths
Why Are There So Many Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. Instead, a combination of factors come together to make Florida roadways treacherous for motorcyclists.
First, Florida is a very popular state for motorcyclists. The sunny weather and miles of beautiful coastal roadways attract riders. Florida is also home to major motorcycle events, like Daytona Beach Bike Week. In 2020, there were 620,077 motorcycles registered in the state of Florida.
Ultimately, more riders on the roads mean more motorcycle accidents, fatalities, and injuries. Other causes of fatalities include Florida’s severe and sometimes unpredictable weather. Rainstorms, flooding, and poor visibility make riding conditions dangerous, while road construction and drunk or impaired driving add additional risks.
How to Prevent a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death.
While nothing compares to the experience of riding a motorcycle, it’s also a dangerous pastime, and it’s essential to take precautions.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent motorcycle accidents and injuries in the Sunshine State:
Wear the right gear. Wear long sleeves and pants made of thick, protective material like leather. You should also wear gloves, eye protection, and durable boots that provide ankle coverage. Whatever you do, NEVER get on a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Riders who don’t wear helmets are 2x as likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries during a crash as those who do.
Make sure you’re highly visible. Thanks to their small size, motorcycles are often difficult for motorists to see, especially in busy driving situations. To protect yourself, make yourself as visible as possible. Wear bright, bold colors, and add reflective strips to your clothing and bike. Turn your motorcycle’s headlights on during both day and night and stay in the lane that makes you most visible to nearby motorists. If you’re not sure a motorist can see you, use your horn to alert them to your presence.
Practice defensive driving. Defensive driving is critical for anyone on the road, but it’s essential for motorcyclists. Consider taking a defensive driving course for motorcyclists. Vehicle motorists should also take defensive driving courses. You’ll learn simple tips and tricks to keep yourself safe on the road and prevent accidents.
Be mindful of intersections. Half of all motorcycle crashes take place at intersections. Be on high alert and stay aware of your surroundings so you can respond appropriately.
Avoid poor weather conditions. Whenever possible, avoid riding in bad weather. Rain and poor visibility make for dangerous riding conditions and can make a crash more likely.
Don’t speed. Speed is a factor in more than one-third of fatal motorcycle crashes. To keep yourself safe on the roadways, observe posted speed limits.
What to do if You’ve Been Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, stay calm and follow these steps:
Get to safety. Survey your surroundings. Are you safe? Are you out of the way of oncoming traffic and other cars? If not, get yourself and anyone involved to a safe area.
Call 911. As soon as you’re in a safe location, call 911 to report the accident. Even if you don’t believe you’re injured, you should see the paramedics to make sure, and you’ll need a police report to file an insurance claim.
Do not remove your gear. The shock you experience after an accident may prevent you from feeling the full extent of any injuries you’ve sustained. With this in mind, wait to remove your protective gear until the paramedics arrive.
Gather evidence. While you wait for the police and paramedics to arrive, take photos of the accident scene, including damage to your motorcycle and other vehicles involved, injuries, and the surroundings like the road and the larger setting.
Contact an accident attorney. Contact a skilled accident attorney once you’ve filed a police report and gotten the
medical attention you need. The aftermath of motorcycle accidents is intense and confusing, but an accident attorney will be able to walk you through the experience, advocate on your behalf, and make sure you get the settlement you need to move on with your life.
We’re Here for You After a Motorcycle Accident
The aftermath of a motorcycle wreck can be confusing, frightening, and uncertain. In addition to focusing on your recovery, you’re likely feeling weighed down by pressing legal concerns, and your need to secure a payout from your insurance company. Fortunately, you’re not alone in the process.
Here at Ward & Barnes, we provide comprehensive legal services to people who have been involved in motorcycle accidents.
From protecting your rights to advocating for the largest possible settlement in your case, we’ll work with you to help you recover from the unfortunate event. With the help of our team of expert accident attorneys, you can put your motorcycle accident behind you as quickly as possible.